Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Royal Family

Most Americans are familiar with the royal family in Great Britain.  I wonder how many know anything about the Emperor of Japan and his family.  I have to admit, I have heard or read very little about the Japanese Emperor and his family.  I remember reading about the Prince getting married in the early 90’s and about the births of their children.  In February, while we were living here, we learned the Emperor was in the hospital, but I don’t think I would have known that in the US. This isn't even a drop in the bucket compared with the news coverage of the Queen Elizabeth II and her family.  Why do you think that is? Is it the Japanese culture?  Is it the language differences? Do the Japanese behave themselves so they don’t end up in the tabloids? In the US we get some of the royals in the history classes, but I don’t remember anything about Japan’s emperors.  I need the English translation of the Japanese elementary student’s history book.

The Imperial House of Japan is the oldest continuing hereditary monarchy in the world. The current Japanese law excludes women from the throne, although this may have changed had the Crown Prince and Princess not had a male child. The Emperor of Japan is the only monarch in the world with the title of “Emperor”.  The Emperor is the head of the Shinto religion, as he and his family are believed the direct descendants of God. He is a ceremonial figure with head of state functions as part of the constitutional monarchy in Japan.

Emperor Akihito has been Emperor since his father died in 1989. He was fifth child and the oldest son of Emperor Hirohito, the Showa Emperor. In 1959, he married Michiko Shoda.  They have three children, two sons and a daughter. The oldest child, Crown Prince Naruhito is the heir apparent to the throne. He married Masako Owada in 1993, and they have three children, two girls and the youngest, a boy.

Back to Elizabeth I
Elizabeth was born in 1533 to parents Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife.  I know – a long time ago!

Are you wondering why I picked out this project and not one of my many other unfinished stitching projects to work on now?  Well, I recently purchased the kits for two companion pieces, Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Harwick.  You can see a photo of the three together on the website of Gay Ann Rogers. I don’t have the kits in hand yet, but they are on their way.  These three projects are probably the most expensive I have (although the dragons are up there, too). Silk threads and jewels are pricey, but so pretty. I have a weakness for things that match or go together.

I’ve put a few more stitches in my Elizabeth, still jumping around a bit instead of going in the order of the directions. I did more of the tiny tent stitches under the arms and in the front of the skirt.  The front skirt area and the sleeves will later be covered by blackwork and this light gray tent stitch will be like a shadow. I had a hard time getting started on the overskirt. I made mistakes on the count and had to reverse stitch several times.  After I put in a couple of rows it did get a little easier.

I planned to work the directions in order, but that meant working on the ruff (that big white thing around her neck). Maybe after I get a little more done, I’ll go back to the ruff. This is how she looks now.


  1. What an interesting post. I remember when I lived in Japan feeling quite deprived that there was not more 'news' or information about the Imperial family. As I am a real Royalist from a Commonwealth country this lack of public awareness seemed unnatural to me.
    I love watching your progress on Elizabeth - although I must admit it doesn't tempt me to that type of stitching. Just as well we are all different !

  2. I am also working on Elizabeth. You can see mine at:

    I need to post an updated picture, but I have been doing those gray shadows. They take forever.

    Mary Ruth in NC

  3. Talking about not hearing more about the Imperial family, I always had the impression they were bound by very strict rules of being super proper and following strict protocol. I did read an article today in Discover magazine that Japan's population is now decreasing due to the decline in the birth rate. Enjoy your stitching! Are you continuing to run?

  4. I really enjoyed your information on Japan Royalty! I didn't know any of that either!